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Hunker Down with Kes

A Man To Ride The River With

By Kesley Colbert
Posted 1/11/22

Never, not one time in all the years I knew him, did I hear Buddy Floore say he liked kids... But I’d ride by the old elementary school down on Long Avenue near Tenth Street and the youngsters would be following him out to the P. E. field like Coach Floore was the pied piper.

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Hunker Down with Kes

A Man To Ride The River With

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Never, not one time in all the years I knew him, did I hear Buddy Floore say he liked kids... But I’d ride by the old elementary school down on Long Avenue near Tenth Street and the youngsters would be following him out to the P. E. field like Coach Floore was the pied piper.

This was in the fall of 1969.

He’d stick an arm straight out and five or six kids would “grab a hold” and Buddy would lift them up like they were made of feathers. They would be laughing to beat the band. And so would he! It was kinda hard to tell who was having the most fun.

I marveled at how such a big man could show such patience with a group of second and third graders all speaking to him at once, asking questions, demanding a minute of his time. He’d smile and just keep moving...

Never one time in all the years we coached together did he say, “Now, Young Coach, this is the way to do it.” And you’ve got to understand something. I was fresh out of college. And ready to set the coaching world on its ear! I’d been studying up on the X’s and O’s of the business.

Coach Floore would fuss and yell at a player from time to time. He could get on one “pretty good” if the situation demanded it. But he did it in that easy manner of his. He couldn’t abide a player who he thought wasn’t putting all he had into the game.

I remember a receiver who had a tendency to be a mite lazy at times. Buddy prodded him a little extra, trying to light a fire under him. The first game of the season, this receiver dropped a pass in the end zone. Cost us a blooming touchdown!

I was spitting mad! The kid came off the field and stood kinda away from the team with his head down. I started over there to give him a piece of my mind...when I saw Buddy put his arm around him and give him a hug.

Maybe this game was not as much about X’s and O’s as I first thought. Sure, you’ve got to yell a little, cajole a tad, use some sarcasm, give them the straight talk, encourage, congratulate and love them. The genius of a real football coach is to know when to do which.

Coach Floore was the best I ever saw at it.

Never one time did I hear Buddy Floore say you’ve got to work hard in life. But I discovered his feelings on the subject when I found myself without a place to live. I mentioned it to Buddy. He had an old farm house on some land a fair distance out of town. We cleaned it up a bit and I moved in.

He would not accept any rent.

He did “agree” to let me help him some with the cows and clearing the new land he had recently purchased. Listen, we’d play a football game in DeFuniak Springs. We wouldn’t get back home till after midnight and by the time we got the locker room cleared out and I drove the 20 plus miles to the house, it would be 3:00 in the morning!

Buddy would wake me up at 5:30 by grasping me gently by the neck and one leg and LIFTING me straight up over the bed, like I was made of feathers, declaring, “Rise and shine, Wormy. We’re burning daylight.”

I’d half reply, “Moose, it’s pitch dark outside. Nobody’s burning any daylight yet!”

By the time we finished an unbelievably good breakfast (he was a cook in the Korean War), there was enough light to feed the cows and start cutting down pine trees and hauling them into a pile, string fence across the back of the property and finish building the roadbed he was running through the pasture.

We didn’t quit till dark! And we did this every weekend and most every afternoon for years. And years!

I never one time heard Buddy Floore say this is the way you treat people. But you cannot believe how much respect and homage he gave to everyone he met. He would stop our work in a heartbeat to go help someone down the road. He was The Good Samaritan to so many people I finally lost count.

When I brought my brand-new wife to the farm house, Moose had thoughtfully removed the saddles, tack and 50-pound sacks of fertilizer out of the living room. He, from the first moment he met Cathy, treated her like family. I never thanked him for that very, very special act of kindness.

I could go on but you’ve already figured out that Buddy Floore was way past ordinary in every facet of his life.

It’s amazing how many things I learned from him, without him ever saying a word!

And I’m not the only life he touched in a very real and personal way...you can bet the farm on that!

With Love and Respect,
Wormy

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